Meryl Streep Petitions Congress to Revive Equal Rights Amendment
Meryl Streep is harnessing her Hollywood power to push for change across the United States.
The Oscar winner is petitioning Congress to revive the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which supports equal pay for women in the United States.
Streep, 66, sent letters on the matter to all 535 members of Congress on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
“I am writing to ask you to stand up for equality – for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife or yourself – by actively supporting the Equal Rights Amendment,” Streep wrote in the letter.
Each letter was accompanied by a copy of Equal Means Equal, a book by president of the ERA Coalition Jessica Neuwirth.
The amendment, which was initially written in 1920, states “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
The landmark amendment wasn’t passed by Congress until 1972. Even then, it was only ratified by 35 of the 38 states needed to add it to the Constitution and has remained largely dormant in the decades since.
“A whole new generation of women and girls are talking about equality – equal pay, equal protection from sexual assault, equal rights,” Streep’s letter said.
Meryl Streep Reacts to Patricia Arquette’s Call for Women’s Equality
The actress also noted that the United States has encouraged countries like Afghanistan to include women’s rights into their constitutions, yet America doesn’t “have it in our own,” according to The Washington Post
Streep publicly showed her support for the movement at the 2015 Oscars when actress Patricia Arquette used her Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech as a platform to call for the equality of women in America.
“It’s high time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” Arquette said during the speech, prompting Streep, among others, to stand up and cheer from the audience.
Streep will also take on a trailblazing persona onscreen in this fall’s Suffragette.
The period drama takes place in 20th-century Britain when women fought for the right for vote. Streep plays firebrand Emmeline Pankhurst, who recruits Carey Mulligan to join her fight against injustice and for the advancement of women’s rights.